Giuseppe Verdi was one of the leading opera composers of all time. He was born in Le Roncole, a small village in Italy on 10 October 1813. When he entered the field of opera many were of the view that the era of opera had ended after “The Italian Mozart” i.e. Gioachino Rossini, the man who took opera to a whole new level, however Verdi, through his melodic invention and musical expression took opera to the heights Rossini never achieved.
Verdi’s era started after the glorious eras of Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini and Beethoven. He had his own style different from the people who passed before him. He added a melodramatic touch to the opera. His romantic and sublime composition of music soon made him popular among the people as well as directors of stage plays.
Verdi’s parents moved from their home village to Busseto when he was very young. In Busseto, Verdi’s music skills were greatly aided by the school’s library. Verdi was talented and showed it at very early age of seven by playing organ at the church. In Busseto, Verdi started taking his composition lessons. He soon became assistant church organist at the tender age of 15. He then moved to Milan to learn more about composition and visited many opera music parties and festivals learning from each one of them. He also took numerous lessons to refine his skills in music composition and opera. In Milan he made up his mind to follow a career in music composition.
He didn’t start composing at early age rather he gave music performances on special occasions. He first appeared publically in 1830 at the house of Antonio Barezzi who later became his father in law. Margherita and Verdi were married on 4th May 1836 and had two daughters. However tragically both daughters died very young and soon after their death Margherita also passed away. This left Verdi deserted.
Verdi was working on his first opera when his daughters died. He released it in 1839 and soon it became popular and Verdi was recognized by the world of music. While working on his second opera his wife died whom he loved very much. He was totally devastated and his second opera turned out to be a horrible mess. He was so heartbroken that he decided never to compose music again. However he wrote Nabucco on request of a friend and it was an instant hit making Verdi popular.
His major works are “Un ballo in maschera”, “I Lombardi”, “Ernani”, “La forza del destino”, “Les vêpres siciliennes”, “Don Carlos” and the most important one he wrote was “Macbeth”. Verdi composed a total of 14 operas in his lifetime. Verdi wrote his last opera, “La battaglia di Legnano” in 1849 while he was living in Paris.
Giuseppe Verdi died due to a heart stroke while he was living in a hotel in Milan in January 1901. He grew weaker day by day and died a week after the stroke on 27th January 1901. A great tribute was given to the legendary composer at his funeral by playing music of the composers from all around Italy on orchestras and pianos. It was the largest public assembly in the history of Italy.